Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact by Nick Morgan, Harvard Business School Press, 272 pages, $25.00, Hardcover, May 2014, ISBN 9781422193501
Nick Morgan has been teaching nonverbal communication and stage presence for more than two decades. In fact, before we went out on the road to give speeches around our book, The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, it was to Morgan that my coauthor Todd Sattersten and I turned for guidance. And he guided us well.
Now, authors don’t have to travel to Boston as we did to receive the sage lessons Morgan has to teach them. His new book, Power Cues, will give you a crash course in what he taught us about being on stage, and goes much further by exploring how those lessons apply in everyday situations and leadership scenarios.
What he reveals is the combination of our most basic tribal human instincts that crave leadership and the cutting edge in brain science that demonstrates how influence is achieved. Some of the truths he teaches are uncomfortable at first—none of us wants to believe we’re so easily shaped and influenced by the unseen forces around us—but Morgan makes clear that it is personal mastery he’s offering the reader, not manipulation.
These power cues will actually show you how to deal more authentically with your colleagues, your family, your tribe. … [Y]ou’ll learn how to clear away all the unconscious messages you don’t mean to be sending—and don’t even realize you’re sending—in order to strengthen the messages you want to communicate. You’ll learn to show up as the best version of yourself instead of as a jumble of unconscious fears and distractions. You’ll become more persuasive and more powerful because you’ll become more authentically yourself.
This book provides the science and practical rationale to back up the famous Marianne Williamson poem (often mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech) that “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate./Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” and proves that when “we let our own light shine,/we unconsciously give other people permission/to do the same.”
I’m not sure Nick Morgan would embrace such a lofty aspiration, but what he offers is a chance for all of us to better connect with our authentic selves and one another. With that power in practical application, just think what we can achieve.